On a daily basis, I observe behavior in friends and family members that in my opinion is bazaar and could constitute a need for psychiatric evaluation at the least. Upon closer examination, I am sure that we all have some form of neurosis brewing just under the surface of our psyche. With that said, it is not uncommon for me to observe signs of depression, suicidal tendency that are expressed by reckless life styles, and persons who seem to be responding to external stimuli (it may be the joint they just smoked, but how do I know). With that in mind, I often wish I had a purse full of prozac or some other psychotropic drug that would instantly cure my people.
As a healthcare professional, I am required to take action if a person is a danger to themselves or others. Most of these examples I site above are harmless, yet it is always hard to see those you love lose out on life because they are depressed and do nothing with their God give talents because they won’t get help for their depression or whatever mental illness plagues them. It is just as bad when I see some of these same people exhibiting self destructive behavior by indulging in activities that will surely get them killed, like using drugs.
If your honest with yourself, you have family and friends who need professional help. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the African American communities are underserved by the nation’s mental health system. Statistically, only one out of three African Americans who need mental health care receive it. African Americans are more likely to stop treatment early and are less likely to receive follow-up care in comparison to the general population. These statistics are often due to cultural stigmas and lack of insurance coverage.
To understand mental illness and why the African American communities are at a higher risk of poor treatment and management please see the the link below. If someone in your family needs help, don’t just pass it off as “the blues” or let it go because that is how he/she has always behaved. We as a community need to take responsibility for ourselves and our loved ones by reaching out to them and tring to get them some help.